US 5743105 A
An apparatus for automatically producing ice vessels. Ice masses produced by ice making machine 3 is crushed to pieces by ice crusher 1. Then, the ice pieces are fed from an outlet chute 2A of the ice crusher 1 to one of female dies 12, which are provided on an endless conveyor 11. A male die 15 provided adjacent the ice crusher 1 is lowered to be depressed to the female die 12, thus molding ice vessel A. The molded ice vessels A are then transported in sequence to a terminal side 11A, at which they are detached from the female die 12 by a collecting plate 21 and then transported. According to the invention, there can be provided an apparatus which can make ice in proper quantities and is suited for mass production of ice vessels.
1. An apparatus for producing ice vessels comprising:
an ice making machine;
an ice crusher for crushing ice masses supplied from said ice making machine, said ice crusher having an outlet chute;
a plurality of female dies for accommodating crushed ice thereinto, said female dies being provided on an endless conveyor;
a male die opposite to said female dies;
an elevating device for raising or lowering said male die.
2. An apparatus for producing ice vessels according to claim 1, wherein said elevating device is a cylinder.
3. An apparatus for producing ice vessels according to claim 1, wherein a distance between the male die and the outlet chute is set equal to a distance between the adjacent female dies or integer times thereof.
4. An apparatus for producing ice vessels according to claim 1, wherein said ice making machine comprises:
an ice making box;
an evaporator provided in said ice making box;
a refrigerant compressor and condensor connected to the evaporator; and
an ice pieces pushing-out pin, said pin being capable of reciprocating within said ice making box.
5. An apparatus for producing ice vessels according to claim 1, further comprising a collecting body provided at an terminal side of said endless conveyor.
6. An apparatus for producing ice vessels according to claim 1, wherein said females dies are formed concave, while said male die formed convex.
7. An apparatus for producing ice vessels according to claim 6, wherein said ice making box has a volume substantially equal to that of one of said female dies.
8. An apparatus for producing ice vessels according to claim 5, wherein said collecting plate is tabular, a distance between said collecting body and said endless conveyor being smaller at said terminal side thereof relative to other portions.
This application is a continuation-in-part application of U.S. Ser. No. 08/515,474 filed on Aug. 15, 1995, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,634,344.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to an apparatus for forming ice pieces into ice vessels for dishing up or covering food such as vegetable salad, sashimi or the like.
2. Description of Prior Art
In the past, an apparatus for producing ice vessel for vegetable salad or the like has been proposed in Japanese Patent Application Un-Examined Publication No. 6-194018, of which the columns 1 and 2 disclose an apparatus for producing ice vessels comprising a female die, a male die opposite to said female die for cooperating with said female die to define a mold cavity for forming said ice vessels, a through-hole formed at the bottom of said female die, a pushing-out pin which is raised and lowered in said through-hole by an elevator device, a chute box for feeding ice pieces from suitable ice crusher into said female die, said chute box having an outlet located above said female die and an inlet located below said ice crusher for receiving ice pieces therefrom, a carrier-arm device provided above said female die. The prior apparatus for producing ice vessels is operated in such a manner that relatively large masses of ice pieces fed from an ice making machine are crushed by the ice crusher and then supplied to the female die through the chute box, which are molded by the male die cooperating with the female die, so that molded ice vessels are taken out by the pushing-out pin raised by the elevator device, which are subsequently transported by the carrier arm device.
Such molded ice vessels are generally served for guests of a hotel or an inn, either with vegetable salad or sashimi accommodated therein to keep them cool or with such food dished up in a vessel in advance covered therewith.
According to the prior art, ice masses are ceaselessly supplied from the ice making machine to the ice crusher, which are subsequently crushed thereby to be yet ceaselessly fed into the female die. However, such production process of ice pieces cannot meet needs for constant ice volume required for producing one ice vessel, so that it has been difficult to supply ice pieces in proper quantities.
Furthermore, according to the prior art, as molded ice vessels have to be taken out one by one by means of the pushing-out pin, so that it cannot realize a mass production of ice vessels.
Accordingly, it is a main object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for producing ice vessels which can make ice in proper quantities.
It is also an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for producing ice vessels which can realize mass production of ice vessels.
In accordance with a major feature of the present invention, there is provided an apparatus for producing ice vessel comprising: an ice making machine; an ice crusher for crushing ice masses supplied from said ice making machine, said ice crusher having an outlet chute; a plurality of female dies for accommodating crushed ice thereinto, said female dies being provided on an endless conveyor; a male die opposite to said female dies; an elevating device for raising or lowering said male die.
Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, wherein reference is made to the accompanying drawings, of which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing an embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a section showing a main part of the embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a section showing an ice making box of the embodiment of the invention.
Hereinafter is described an embodiment of the present invention with reference to FIGS. 1 to 3.
In the drawings, reference numeral 1 designates automatic ice crusher, having outlet chute 2A positioned near the initial station side 11B away from male die 15. The interval between male die 15 and outlet chute 2A is set equal to the interval between hereinbelow-described adjacent female dies 12 or integer times thereof. Reference numeral 5 designates ice making box 5 provided in ice making machine 3, said ice making box 5 being rotatably mounted via shaft 19 to frame 18, said shaft 19 being connected to motor 20 so that ice making box 5 can be inclined from its erected position until the upper aperture 5A thereof obliquely faces the inlet port 1D of automatic ice crusher 1.
Water cooler 4 disposed above has a refrigerating machine (not shown) and holds constant a water level of water supplied from water pipe 4A and keeps the same cold, preferably within a range from 0 to 4 degs centigrade, having supply port 4B equipped with automatic closing valve 4C, thus providing feed-water line for the ice making box 5, which has an upper aperture 5A opposite to the supply port 4B to receive the cold water. To a periphery of the ice making box 5 is secured evaporator 7 formed from a meandering pipe, which is connected to refrigeration unit 6 across a flexible pipe. The refrigeration unit 6 has built-in motor-driven compressor 6A and condensor 6B. At a bottom of the ice making box 5 is slidably provided pushing-out pin 8, which is provided with pneumatic or hydraulic cylinder 9 mounted on a lower surface of the bottom, having a rod which penetrates through the bottom of the ice making box 5 to connect to the pushing-out pin 8. An inner surface of the ice making box 5 and a surface of the pushing-out pin 8 are each coated with fluororesin layer (not shown), while around a peripheral surface of the pin 8 is provided O-ring 8A for watertight purpose, said pin 8 having horizontal upper surface 8B, as illustrated in FIG. 3. Reference numeral 3A designates heat insulating chamber.
Reference numeral 11 designates endless conveyor made of flexible resin or rubber such as elastomer or the like. The surface of conveyor 11 is spacedly formed with a plurality of hemispherical concave portions to form female dies 12 for molding ice vessels A respectively. There is provided driving roller 13 driven by a motor (not shown) at one side of the conveyor 11, while driven roller 14 at the other side thereof. These rollers 13 and 14 have shafts 13A and 14A connected thereto in the centers thereof respectively, which are rotatably supported by frame 14B. Reference numerals 13X and 14X designate guide rollers respectively, each having shaft 13Y or 14Y connected to frame 14B.
Reference numeral 15 is hemispherically convex male die which is positioned a little toward the initial station side 11B away from terminal side 11A of endless conveyor 11. The male die 15 is connected to rod 16A of pneumatic or hydraulic cylinder device 16 provided for an elevator device. The cylinder device 16 is switched by electromagnetic valve 17 to raise or lower the male die 15.
Reference numeral 21 designates collecting plate for collection of the molded ice vessels A which is provided at the terminal station side 11A of conveyor 11. The distance X between the conveyor 11 and the collecting plate 21 is relatively small at terminal side 11A, which gradually increases toward the other side. Incidentally, the automatic closing valve 4C, refrigerating unit 6, electromagnetic valve 17, motor 20 and the motor for driving roller 13 are each controlled by a suitable controller device.
Now the action of the apparatus having the above-described structure will be explained.
The actuation of the controller device (not shown) allows cold water to be supplied from water cooler 4 to ice making machine 5 in the erected position with a quantity thereof being adjusted by automatic closing valve 4C controlled by a timer (not shown). The cold water is then further cooled within ice making box 5 to produce ice masses. Thereafter, motor 20 is actuated to allow ice making box 5 to incline toward ice crusher 1, while cylinder device 9 is worked to raise pushing-out pin 8 slightly above upper aperture 5A. Thus, the ice masses are pushed out to be fed into inlet port 1D, which are then crushed by automatic ice crusher 1 to approximately 2 to 5 mm-sized ice pieces, thereby allowing the obtained ice pieces to be accommodated through outlet chute 2A into female die 12.
When intermittent movement of endless conveyor 11 permits one of the female dies 12 to face the male die 15, cylinder device 16 is actuated by electromagnetic valve 17 to lower male die 15 until it is depressed to female die 12, thereby forming the ice pieces within female die 12 into an ice dish. After that, male die 15 is raised by cylinder device 16, while endless conveyor 11 intermittently moves forward until the female die 12 arrives at terminal station 11A where the endless conveyor 11 is arc-shaped. Accordingly, the molded ice vessel A is removed from female die 12, and carried on collecting plate 21, which is inclined so that the ice vessel A can be shifted to other side for storage, as shown in FIG. 1.
According to an embodiment of the invention, there is provided an apparatus for producing ice vessel, comprising an endless conveyor 11 having a plurality of female dies 12, an automatic ice crusher 1 having an outlet chute 2A opposite to one of the female dies 12, an elevatable male die 15 opposite to one of the female dies 12, said conveyor 11 being intermittently moved while ice pieces are fed from the outlet chute 2A into each female die 12, thus allowing the male die 15 to be depressed to each female die 12 to successively mold ice vessels A. Specifically, due to the hemispherical concave configuration of each female die 12, the accommodation of ice pieces are ensured, while the hemispherical convex configuration of the male die 15 ensures the forming of ice vessels by insertion of the same into the female die 12.
Further, owing to the above-described cylinder 16 for raising or lowering the male die 12, the ice pieces accommodated in each female die 12 can be formed into ice vessels at a predetermined pressure.
Furthermore, as the distance between the male die 15 and the outlet chute 2A is set equal to the interval between the adjacent female dies 12 or integer times thereof, the accommodation of ice pieces from the outlet chute 2A into the female die 12 can be carried out at the same time the ice pieces accommodated in the adjacent female die 12 is formed into an ice vessel, thereby effecting the successive mass production of ice vessels.
Seen from another aspect of the invention, there is provided an apparatus for producing ice vessel, comprising an ice making machine 3 which comprises: an ice making box 5 having a cold water supply port 4B an evaporator 7 provided in the ice making box 5, a refrigerant compressor 6A and condenser 6B connected to the evaporator 7; an ice pieces pushing-out pin 8, said pin 8 being capable of reciprocating within said ice making box 5, whereby the ice making box 5 having cold water accommodated therein can be directly cooled to intermittently produce ice masses, so that the production of ice vessels A can be quickly started.
Specifically, as the volume of the ice making box 5 corresponds to that for required when producing one ice vessel A, the ice-making, crushing, molding and transporting of ice vessels can be carried out in sequence per a unit quantity for making ice, thereby efficiently making ice.
Further, owing to the collecting plate 21 provided at the terminal side 11A of the conveyor 11, the recovery of the molded ice vessels A can be efficiently carried out by receiving the molded ice vessels A detached from the female dies 12 due to the inverting motion of the same at the terminal side 11A. Additionally, the collecting plate 21 is tabular, thus allowing the dish-like ice vessels A to be stably carried thereon. In addition, as the distance X between the conveyor 11 and the collecting plate 21 is relatively small at the terminal side 11A, which gradually increases toward the other side, the production of ice vessels A can be ensured without the fear of damaging the detached ice vessels A when recovering the same.
Incidentally, the present invention should not be limited to the foregoing embodiment, but may be modified within a scope of the invention. For example, the endless conveyor having a plurality of female dies may be made of suitable metal such as stainless steel. Further, metallic female dies may be provided on a part of a rubber-made endless conveyor for the benefit of improvement of durability.